Most of us go through life on auto-pilot, and we react to situations based on our past experiences. Our thoughts have been programmed from a young age. We come into the world a clean slate, and everything that we encounter codes our brain to respond a certain way. We tend to listen to ideas that confirm our longstanding beliefs, and push away new information that we have not been taught. Can we be open and change to create the life we want?
An ancient Buddhist practice called mindfulness is gaining momentum in the Western world. It has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with waking up and consciously living our lives. We are all so busy multi-tasking, and receiving constant stimuli, that we are not slowing down enough to live our lives with intention, and purpose. Mindfulness and meditation connect us to ourselves, and invite us to examine our thoughts in a non-judgmental, compassionate way. When we become an observer of our thoughts, we can take an unbiased look at what is really happening in our lives without getting caught up in the stories we tell ourselves. We need to be curious about our self-talk and inquire about longstanding beliefs.
Mindfulness also brings us back to the present moment. The past is the past, And the future hasn’t happened yet. If we get stuck ruminating about the past, we tend to get depressed. If we are fearful and worrying about the future, we get anxious. However, when we focus on the task at hand, we can be fully present without missing anything and quiet the chatter of the mind.
How do you stay connected to the present and train your brain to do this? When you are doing the dishes, focus on the dishes. When you are playing golf, focus on the game, not your to do list or your kids. When you’re eating, taste every bite instead of mindlessly eating a whole bag of chips. Slow down and focus on the things you do every day, but never pay any attention. In addition, you can try a few minutes a day focusing on the inflow and outflow of your breath. This will train your brain to bring you back to the present and enable you to appreciate every moment. You don’t want to ask yourself at the end of your days, where did all the time go?
*To contact Jodi: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.jodibaretz.com
Jodi Baretz, LCSW, HHC will be presenting on April 1, 2014, Tuesday, from 5:30 – 6:30 PM for the Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain/Wellness Support Group : Mindfulness for Pain Relief and Stress Reduction. Location: Physical Therapy at Briarcliff/ Inside Club Fit Conference Room. Please call to register for this free program at (914) 762 – 2222 X 0 or visit our website at www.ptrehab.com
Jacqui Bishop’s “Sharp Again Naturally” promotes Alzheimer’s and dementia education.
Here’s something you don’t hear every day… we have some really good news about Alzheimer’s and dementia! No, unfortunately no one has come up with the magic pill, and traditional medicine has yet to post a single turnaround. However there are people who’ve been diagnosed with the disease by highly respected researchers and physicians who have reversed their symptoms and are now living normal lives again. And there’s documentary footage available to prove it.
This news comes from Jacqui Bishop, Club Fit Briarcliff member and founder of Sharp Again Naturally, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed to educate the public about causes of dementia that are reversible but little known and rarely tested for or treated. The Sharp Again vision is a world free of unnecessary pain from reversible causes of dementia, and they are working to make comprehensive testing and treatment of those reversible causes part of the standard of care for all dementia patients.
Jacqui herself was directly impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, which took her mother in 2010 after an 18-year slide. At that time, even with all the money and time that could have been poured into effective treatment, it was assumed that nothing could be done. Jacqui was helpless to make more than a palliative difference for her mother.
Then, in November 2011, Jacqui saw footage from an unfinished documentary film that changed—and may even have saved—her life. Two filmmakers had discovered cases of Alzheimer’s being reversed, resolved to make a documentary, and traveled across the country filming interviews with researchers, physicians, and Alzheimer’s patients who had gotten their minds back. Upon seeing this stunning footage, Jacqui and several others from the Westchester Holistic Network decided to help the filmmakers complete the documentary. That day, Sharp Again Naturally was born.
The research is astounding, and makes clear that diagnoses of dementia, even Alzheimer’s, can be successfully treated. What percentage of cases can be arrested or reversed? Nobody knows because no one’s ever done the research. But it’s a significant number. And if it’s just 20 percent, which is a conservative estimate, that’s a million people in the U.S. alone.
The organization’s web site, www.sharpagain.org, outlines seven causes of dementia, including nutritional factors, hormonal imbalances, and stress. Another cause, which has not been officially added pending additional research, Jacqui calls stagnation. “We are finding many correlations between healthy brain function and activity—intellectual, social/emotional to be sure, but especially physical,” she says. “As a matter of fact, my mother was an athlete, a swimmer, hiker, and competitive skier, well into her sixties. It was when she could no longer exercise that her functioning went downhill really fast.”
She recommends reading Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John J. Ratey, MD, which explores comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain. It includes amazing case studies, including the revolutionary fitness program in Naperville, IL, that is credited with putting the children in the local school district fifth in the world in math and first in the world in science test scores. Jacqui also says that research has shown that people with the APOE-4 gene, often referred to as the “Alzheimer’s gene,” have generated especially impressive improvements through physical exercise.
Jacqui’s passion isn’t only about saving the rest of the world: She herself started noticing symptoms. “I was losing words, having trouble following conversations and experiencing memory loss.” After being tested by a physician trained in functional medicine, she learned she was pre-diabetic and suffering from a mild version of hypothyroidism, two factors strongly associated with cognitive decline. Based on those and other indicators, she has been practicing the following “treatments”: taking natural desiccated thyroid supplements, cutting out sugar, increasing sleep, increasing her intake of omega-3s and taking large quantities of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), an alternative fuel for starving brain cells. MCTs are most readily (and cheaply!) available from coconut oil, which has been documented as turning around a significant number of cases.
Exercise is also a big part of Jacqui’s quest for wellness. It wasn’t so hard for her as she had always been active and came from an athletic family, but she had never included regular workouts in her schedule. Club Fit entered her life when her best friend encouraged her to come in and check it out, and the rest was history. “We’d make workout dates, and we both looked forward to them. I loved laughing with my great friend—30 minutes went by on the elliptical like no time at all. To anyone who wants to get into fitness, I’d suggest buddying up with a friend!” says Jacqui. “It changed my life.”
Jacqui now gets to the gym 2 to 3 times a week and spends most of her time in the Fitness Center on the machines and in the stretching area. She also spends about 20 minutes in the pool each visit as she’s an avid swimmer and “the pool is top-notch—no chlorine.” When she doesn’t make it to the Club, she walks at least 30 minutes every day. “Carving out the time is the challenge, but my mind is so much clearer when I do.” The work at Sharp Again, she says, has become a “time-and-a-half job.” But it’s a job worth doing, and an exciting one—so many discoveries are being made every day and Alzheimer’s affects so many people and families, not just here but worldwide.
Sharp Again is making great strides, but they need help to continue their mission. “We welcome anyone who wants to help us spread the word!” says Jacqui. There’s a volunteer information meeting on March 27th in White Plains, and donations are welcomed to help fund educational materials, community presentations, website work, and additional research. Sharp Again is also building an information clearinghouse, which will include a database of holistic practitioners. Do you know a great holistic physician? Let them know!
To find out more about Sharp Again or to sign up for their informative newsletter, visit www.sharpagain.org, which contains videos, educational data, and links to associated organizations. You can also find a schedule of Sharp Again’s free presentations at libraries, churches, and other organizations at sharpagain.org/category/calendar. They are presenting next at the Awaken Fair on March 30 in Tarrytown (see AwakenFair.com).
If you or someone you know is being affected by a diagnosis of dementia, Jacqui urges you to visit the web site. “I would have gone halfway ’round the world for this information when my mother was in decline.” Or, if you want to talk to an actual human being, feel free to write Jacqui herself at email@example.com to set up a date, or call her at (914) 997-9611. She’ll be glad to hear from you!
13 CFJV swimmers qualified and attended the SVY March Madness LCM meet at Princeton University on 3/18. Danielle Taps was Event Champion in the 200 FR, and 2nd in the 400FR and 200 IM. Lea Frenkel placed 3rd in the 50 BK with a Zone qualifying time of 35.00 and Remy Eppner qualified for Junior Olympics in the 50 BR. Way to go Club Fit/JV!
Here is a great resource for all the Moms and Dads who need a quick resource to see what we offer by age group at Club Fit! It is hard to jump from one page to the next so we’ve compiled a list of all our offerings for infants, toddlers, grade-schoolers, tweens and teens!
By Jack Werther, Parisi Speed School Director, Club Fit Jefferson Valley
From the moment one sits up in the crib, they begin strength training. Strength training is simply a form of physical activity by which muscular fitness is improved by working against an external force. Strength training can take many forms, such as lifting free weights, pushups, standing up from a seated position, or sprinting. Because strength training can take so many forms, it is beneficial for all ages, from birth until death . . . with one caveat; it must be done correctly and appropriately.
There is no reason for an eight year old to be on a bench trying to press double is body weight, or in the rack trying to squat for a new PR; it’s simply counter-productive. At some point in time that may in fact be something that is appropriate, however at the onset of every strength training journey there are two constants: begin with body weight exercises and have proper supervision. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), weight training can commence as early as 7 years old. While physiologically that may absolutely be correct, how many 7 year olds do you know that can perform a pushup or squat utilizing absolutely perfect form? My guess would be none. Once an athlete has mastered the movement patterns with body weight, it is absolutely appropriate to add external resistance . . . with proper supervision. Proper supervision is imperative not only to make sure that everything is done safely, but correctly. There is a big difference between lifting weights and exercising your muscles with weights. Proper coaching ensures the latter; maximizing results and reducing the potential for injury.
A number of people have recently asked me about how to choose good workout shoes, and I must confess: I have absolutely no idea. Being on a tight budget, I have tried to find what appear to be the best quality shoes within my price range. I use a comfortable and supportive cross-training shoe for any exercise that absorbs impact, but for spinning and weight training, when my feet are constantly in contact with the pedal or floor, I use low-cost workout sneakers from Old Navy. I find them to be very lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and supportive enough for exercise without impact, but I wasn’t sure when I bought them that I was making the right decision for reasons other than cost. Thankfully, I was at least smart enough to ask my amazing personal trainer, Jenn Gannon, who has offered us all her expert professional advice!
I asked Jenn my top three burning questions about choosing workout sneakers, and here’s what she had to say.
Q: What should I look for in a good pair of all-around workout sneakers? Do they have to be expensive? A: Think about what types of activities you are involved with at the gym, or even at home! If you are utilizing cardio equipment and weight training, even our group exercises classes, the best shoe is a cross trainer. They are going to provide you with stability, comfort and are the most durable to withstand all the various activities. With that being said, the price does not have to be astronomical but because a cross trainer will be of value for all of these activities you might want to splurge on a reliable shoe. Try outlet stores, Reebok is notorious for “2 for $99” deals. Even some online searching for shoes you’ve already owned, research is key!
Q: Is it okay to use “running shoes” for general exercise? A: No, Running shoes are a specific kind of shoe that is tailored for runners. Running shoes provide extra cushioning to absorb the impact of foot striking. Not only that but running shoes come in different varieties that give extra support for a persons’ foot mechanics, such as their arches or the degree of pronation or supination. Most running shoes are designed with the intention of improving a runners performance. Any good sporting goods store will be able to judge all of these mechanics and find a proper shoe. Do your research if you are a runner if you are looking to improve!
Q: When should I replace my workout shoes? A: Shoes should be replaced between every 300-500 miles. It ultimately depends on how you wear and tear the soles of the shoe. If you find a shoe you like and there is a deal, buy more! I like to rotate through shoes so that they last longer, especially if you are an avid exerciser. Shoes are the most important part of a work out, if you feel that they no longer are providing you the support or you can start to see your socks showing through a hole you are way over due for a new pair!
I hope you find these responses as helpful as I do. Happy exercising!
Aside from looking completely sleek, this is one of the coolest indoor fitness bikes you will ever set eyes on. Developed by one of the top providers of commercial workout equipment, the M3 Plus is designed with additional bells and whistles missing from other manufacturers bikes. The built-in back lit computer calculates your power output. The Keiser M3 Plus lets you see exactly how hard you are working out and delivers great feedback such as cadence (pedaling RPMs), watts, elapsed time and distance . . . Information that has always left the rider guessing at the end of a class.
The bike has virtually unlimited adjustments that fit any body size and type. It is durable enough to support all of the extra fat that you are planning on sweating off. Both small and tall users love that you can completely adjust the seat and handlebars to get an ideal fit.
The MP3 Plus uses a magnetic system to provide the resistance. This creates a nearly silent and very smooth ride. The resistance adjustment is so exact, so you can just click it into the correct level of resistance when prompted by your favorite instructor instead of “guessing” what level of resistance you should have it set at compared to the current pad-resistance systems.
Our research has been extensive. Trusted resources in the health and fitness community across the country have been using the MP3 Plus for years have shared wonderful testimonials and positive member feedback. The MP3 Plus is a solid bike, has little to no maintenance issues and the lasting durability keeps the bike in service longer than other brands. We feel this investment in our members experience is positive and look forward in taking the spin program to new heights.
“Sit-Fit Yoga You Can Do At Home”
Presented by Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, MS
Physical Therapy at Jefferson Valley 12:00pm-1:00pm
Conference Room at Club Fit Jefferson Valley
Sit Fit Yoga is a holistic program of simple exercise, breathing, relaxation, and meditation techniques designed to help you regain and maintain health and well-being. This program is derived from classical techniques of Yoga, which date back more than 5,000 years ago of modified, simple and yoga postures (asanas).
Sit Fit Yoga believes that aging is an honorable process. In older age, we deserve to embrace this stage of life with acceptance and to feel good about how we can help ourselves and to have a positive outlook.
It is common for many people to have a negative outlook on aging and often depression occurs. Sit Fit Yoga teaches elder students how to live life to its fullest potential by learning to have a positive outlook with gratitude for all that we have lived through and seen throughout our lifetime.
Benefits of Yoga for all ages
No one is too old for yoga and there are many benefits to a yoga practice such as:
• Encourages a positive view of aging and physical capabilities
• Increases circulation
• Relief from joint pain or arthritis; stretches tight muscles
• Emotional healing and creating a positive outlook
• Normalizing blood pressure
• Decreasing emotional and physical stress
• Relieving tension or discomfort with breathing and relaxation techniques
• Improves endurance
• Safe for Most Medical Conditions (arthritis, heart disease, chronic pain)
You must be Medically Stable to attend this free class, so check with your physician
Why Sit-Fit Yoga?
Sit Fit yoga is safe and convenient. It describes a gentle form of exercise that people can perform sitting in a chair. In Sit Fit yoga, people do not have to deal with getting down onto the floor and back up again. Chair yoga is becoming increasingly popular with senior citizens and is excellent for people with limited mobility. Please call Physical Therapy at Jefferson Valley to register on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Check out our website at www.ptrehab.com
We’ve all heard it, we’ve all read it; “early detection saves lives.” So, why do so many of us ignore this advice?
According to The American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths. The majority of these deaths could be prevented with the use of screening tests. Yet, currently, only about half of people 50 yrs. or older receive colorectal cancer testing.*
Maybe, if you heard it from someone who has lived it; someone you know, in your own community, you will not ignore the words, “early detection saves lives.” At forty –five years old, I saw a substantial amount of bright red blood after using the bathroom. It only happened once, but, this was not normal and I felt I needed to see my doctor. A few days later, I saw my general practitioner. He said it could be a few different things, none of them serious. But, he felt it was his responsibility to send me for a colonoscopy because the blood I saw was not normal and in a few years I would be going for a test any way.
When I awoke from the colonoscopy, I was told a mass was found in my large intestine and that this type of tumor was cancerous about 90% of the time. But, the tumor was found early and if it was indeed malignant, it was not only treatable, but curable. Most likely, no treatment other than the removal of the tumor and a section of the intestine would be necessary. Biopsies taken during the colonoscopy came back benign. But, doctors warned in early stages just a small part of the tumor could be made up of cancer cells.
Having a third doctor, my surgeon, look me square in the eye and tell me, “because we caught this early, it is not just treatable but curable,” is what got me through the next three weeks until the surgery and pathology report were complete. I was given a “miracle”, doctor’s words. No cancer was found in the tumor or surrounding intestine, including lymph nodes. Colon cancer develops slowly over a period of 10 to 15 years.* Tumors like mine typically begin as non-cancerous and over time develop cancer cells.* Because my tumor was found early, it was not given time to become malignant. I was back to a normal routine by about 4 weeks and back to instructing fitness classes in 9 weeks!
March is colon cancer awareness month. If you are 50 years or older, you should talk to your doctor about what type of screening is best for you.
*Colorectal Cancer Facts and Figures is a publication of the American Cancer Society
Club Fit has a Cancer Wellness program. If you or a loved one are undergoing treatment for any form of cancer, please make an appointment to speak with one of our dedicated staff members. For more information on our Cancer Wellness Program, Visit us at Club Fit Cancer Wellness.